Monday, October 25

Three men jailed for involvement in six-figure Gift Aid and VAT fraud


 

 

Three men, including an accountant from Harrow, have been arrested for involvement in a six-figure Gift Aid and VAT fraud

A Harrow accountant has been jailed for his involvement in a £400,000 Gift Aid and VAT fraud after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Abu Talib Ghadiri, a 35-year-old accountant, and his brother Mohsin Raza, 33, were found guilty of running a Gift Aid fraud in respect of two charities – the Fatimiyya Trust and The Light – that falsely claimed to promote education, development of medical centres and help victims of natural disasters in Pakistan.

They submitted false repayment claims of £340,000 to HMRC, listing donations from deceased taxpayers, and used the details of ineligible taxpayers on the forms to claim the Gift Aid repayments.

Martin Brown, assistant director of the fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ” As an accountant, Ghadiri would have known the seriousness of committing Gift Aid and VAT fraud, but he carried on regardless and submitted false paperwork to substantiate his claims.

“These individuals stole money that should have been spent on vital public services, not used to line their own pockets, but they are now paying the price.”

In addition, Ghadiri submitted false VAT invoices worth £47,000 linked to seven bogus companies. He claimed that the companies had been set up by his estranged ex-girlfriend and he was not involved despite his home address being the registered address for the companies and his National Insurance number being connected to their accounts.

Ghadiri’s former girlfriend told the court that Ghadiri was in control of the companies and was simply using her details to avoid getting caught.

In a separate fraud, Salih Ozbay, 38, an associate of Ghadiri and company secretary of Smart Price Builders Ltd, had submitted a false VAT repayment claim to HMRC for £69,442.

“sheer dishonesty and lack of remorse”

The men were arrested in 2014 by HMRC officers and found guilty on April 12, 2016 after a trial at Harrow Crown Court . The three men were jailed on Friday (May 20, 2016) at the same court.

Abu Talib Ghadiri, of Preston Waye, Harrow, was sentenced to six years in prison. Mohsin Raza, of Preston Waye, Harrow, was sentenced to four years in prison. Salih Ozbay, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Ghadiri submitted false Gift Aid repayments claims for the Fatimiyya Trust of almost £140,780 – £58,524 of this was paid – and with co-trustee and his brother Mohsin Raza claimed £199,788 for The Light of which £116,369.68 was repaid.

Addressing Ghadiri, His Honour Judge Arran said: ” Your evidence was a series of lies, displaying ‎a meanness and cowardice in blaming others. Taking advantage of a dying person was particularly disgraceful.

“This sentence reflects your sheer dishonesty and lack of remorse.”